African fashion has had a year like no other and has been thrusted into the limelight, brought into the mainstream and into European high street stores. Luxury fashion houses have adopted fabrics, styles and rustic prints working them into their new collections, however although this sounds like a huge compliment, this has been frowned upon by authentic African designers and consumers, as many of these fashion houses have been accused of cultural misappropriation.
One thing that the African community shares is a sense of cultural heritage and a strong identity brought about through clothing styles, patterns and colours, which are all used not just to depict beauty, but to translate and communicate tribal significance and cultural rights of passage.
Some of you may frown and ask what is the big deal... but in the same way a Scottish person has a strong tie with the colour of his or her Tartan or an English person has a strong connection with his or her family crest, this is an exact example of where some of the designers using African textiles and fabrics have gone wrong. When exploring other cultures, professionals should tread more carefully and begin collaborating with the existing community to create new and exciting twists on traditional styles. This is where The Estate have begun working with African and Western brands, co-creating avenues that allow the curious and inquisitive to celebrate, partake and indulge. This was all too evident at this years Africa Fashion Week London 2018 (AFWL), with so many African designers and models. This was the 3rd year that The Estate had come on board to highlight the event as a media partner and it keeps getting better and better. We look forward to next year as we highlight the run up to 2019, with all of the amazing designers from across the world.
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